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The Bicycle Book Hardcover – 31 Mar 2011
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"Drat and double drat. I had an idea for a money-making venture. I would write a quick book in praise of cycling... Curses, curses, when I find Bella Bathurst has blown me out of the water with her Bicycle Book, and she has done it beautifully...In Bella Bathurst the bike has found the best and brightest booster so far."--Boris Johnson, Mail on Sunday
"[Bella has a] sharp eye...[and] elegant prose: like a tail wind pressing on your back, it propels the reader through the pages... With The Bicycle Book Bathurst adds her voice to the call that we are now at the dawn of a new golden age of this versatile machine."--Robert Penn, The Observer
"...everything you ever wanted to know about the bike, its history and use"--Sunday Times
"...filling a yawning gap in the market... Bathurst is an ideal observer: someone who is interested in finding out, not showing off. Someone with a keen eye for the ridiculous, but who isn’t supercilious"--Scotsman
"Her joyful freewheel through the world of bicycles and the people who ride them not only affirms her as an elegant chronicler of quirky subjects, but fills a gap in the pantheon of cycling literature... The Bicycle Book is unique in appealing to both cycling nuts and those of us who mean to dust off the flat-tyred two-wheeler"--The Economist
From the Back Cover
Two wheels. A frame. Two pedals. What could be simpler than a bicycle?
And yet the bike – old, and cheap, and slightly comic – continues to inspire a passionate following. Since the millennium its use in Britain has doubled, and then doubled again. Thousands now cycle to work, and more take it up every day. In trial after trial, it is the bike which reaches its urban destination faster than the car, the bus, the underground or the pedestrian. Self-reliant and straightforward, cycling has recycled itself. It is an antiquated idea, and its time has finally come.
But what is it about the bicycle that so enchants us? And why do its devotees become so obsessed with it?
Acclaimed author Bella Bathurst takes us on a journey through cycling's best stories and strangest incarnations, from the bicycle as weapon of twentieth-century warfare to the secret life of couriers and the alchemy of framebuilding. With a cast of characters including the woman who watercycled across the Channel, the man who raced India’s Deccan Queen train and several of today’s top cyclists, she offers us a brilliantly engaging portrait of cycling’s past, present and world-conquering future.
The result is a story of passion and obsession, of exultation, endeavour, and risk. Above all, it is the story of partnership between man and machine, perfectly balanced – a story of love and souplesse.See all Product description
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The book is reads like a series of Sunday Newspaper Magazine article thrown together. I found it very disjointed, not much of a thread linking things. There is a lot of filler padding chapters out, for instance we have a bit on London bicycle couriers and then a rather similar bit on Glasgow bicycle couriers. There is also the not unsurprising fact that cabbies do not like the couriers and vice versa, with interviews of cab drivers to pad things out a bit more.
I really struggled to finish some chapters. I did eventually finish the book but it took me several goes. I was just skimming that last few chapters trying to find interesting bits. I wouldn't recommend it. There must be better cycling books out there.
Whatever your cycling interest you will find something here for you. Every chapter had flawless writing. If you want a gift for a cycling friend or family member then this is the book to get. They won't stop thanking you for it.
A highly entertaining read for cycling enthusiast and those with a causal interest alike.
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